About the law
State officials altered land records
- Published: 8/08/2011 at 02:05 PM
- Online news:
Illegal transfer of land reform and forest reserve land to private ownership used politicians and village headmen. Land even sold over the internet.
In the photo above a Wang Nam Khieo resort targeted in the land encroachment crackdown.
In the photo below resort operators and Wang Nam Khieo residents protest against the government’s move to crack down on state land encroachment.
Read the many op-ed pieces on this subject that have appeared over the past few days:
1. Time to leave the Switzerland of Thailand
2. Reserves must be respected
3. Forest furor needs thoughtful solution
4. Justice lost in the forest
5. Residents kick off petition to back development on reserves
Also read an insightful analysis of what is going on behind the scenes in local government here.
Click button to listen to State Officials Alter Land Records to download
SPECIAL REPORT: State officials altered wang nam khieo land records by Piyaporn Wongruang
State officials changed land tax records to help push along transfers of land in Wang Nam Khieo district where the government is trying to retrieve forest land from resort and villa owners, a Bangkok Post Sunday investigation reveals.
The actions defied a directive from the Interior Ministry for local officials not to get involved in land tax issues.
The Senate committee on natural resources and the environment visited the area last week to hear from concerned parties in the dispute over land encroachment, which has led to protests by residents and resort owners.
Some resort owners and state officials told the committee that potential buyers would approach local leaders as they believed their influence could ensure the purchase went ahead despite legal difficulties.
Some also told the committee they had purchased the land from local and national politicians.
Not only were forest reserves allegedly encroached upon, but also land distributed by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) to help poor farmers, as well as areas in Tab Lan National Park.
Land buyers and sellers approached village heads and asked them to help certify that the plots were not on state land.
After that, they went to the Tambon Administrative Office (TAO) to change the names on a document known as Por Bor Tor 5, which is a form for land tax payment.
After the names on the document were changed, potential buyers believed they had some proof to a claim on the land.
In 2008, the Interior Ministry issued a notice to TAOs nationwide instructing them not to work on Por Bor Tor 5 forms and land tax collection, reasoning that this might lead to an increase in forest encroachment as the document could be used to assist land sales.
The document normally cannot be transferred to any land ownership papers.
However, the land tax collections and any businesses concerning the Por Tor Bor 5 have been prohibited by the Interior Ministry's notice, which was sent to all TAOs nationwide in 2008.
It clearly ordered TAOs.
One Forestry source said the state officials should be investigated.
He said the ministry's notice was a clear order, but several times Por Bor Tor 5 forms were posted for sale on the internet
The Royal Forestry Department has identified 21 properties that encroached on forest land in Wang Nam Khieo.
About 400 occupants have encroached on 6,000 rai of forest land near the Kuar conservation forest area of Khao Phaeng Ma. The RFD has 310,700 rai of reserve area in Wang Nam Khieo to supervise, after handing over part of it to Alro.
The office said it needs to investigate the 6,000 farmers who received land to see how many of them are still farming. Of the 114 investigated so far, 17 have resorts on their property.
An Alro officer said he would give farmers 30 days to offer an explanation to officials before taking legal action.
The investigations are expected to be completed in 12 months.
(Source: Bangkok Post, SPECIAL REPORT, State officials altered wang nam khieo land records, 7/08/2011, Piyaporn Wongruang, link)
Real estate vocabulary (Land sale and transfer)
Por Bor Tor 5 (P.B.T. 5) - "a form for land tax payment", formal legal definition: "an evidence showing that the occupier of a plot of land has been issued a tax number and has paid tax for using and the benefit of the land. This evidence gives no official rights at all, but was formerly used to establish that the holder was occupying a plot of land and could apply for a Sor Kor 1 and later for a land title deed" (Source: Thailand land title deeds, Samui for sale) another informal (and perhaps controversial) definition that at least reflects common practice in Chiang Rai: land that is "either farm or forest land not under ownership or control of the land office. This land is administered by a local village leader who oversees possession rights and boundaries. Sales are carried out under the supervision of this village leader and recorded locally only. This land can't be built upon" (Source: Thaivisa.com thread)
land reform - a government program to take the ownership of land from large land owners (the rich, the government) and give it (redistribute) to poor small farmers (See Wikipedia)
Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) - a government agency to oversee land reform and the distribution or land to poor landless farmers, established in 1975 with the Agricultural Land Reform Act B.E. 2518 (1975) (See website)
Tambon Administrative Office (TAO) - the name of a local government organization in Thailand (See Wikipedia and read academic paper and insightful op-ed in Bangkok Post)
local - politicians politicians at the district or tambon level (including village headmen)
village heads - village headmen, the traditional lowest level government official (that has existed for hundreds of years) who resolves disputes at the village level
conservation - the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
conservation forest area - a forest area in which animals and plants are protected
reserves - supply for future use, something kept for future use ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง
forest reserves - forest land in the country that is kept by the government for future use (commercial development not allowed)
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
natural resources - things such as coal, trees and oil that exist in nature and can be used by people ทรัพยากร
land tax - land transfer tax, a tax paid when land is sold or with transfer to a new owner (not the traditional "property tax" based on the value of land and paid to the government every year, Thailand does not have such a tax yet)
records - pieces of information describing something written down or stored on a computer บันทึุก
land tax records - information on the paying of land transfer tax at the land office when ownership of land is changed
transfers - changing the location of a person's work (for example, transferred to work in a different province) โอน โยกย้าย
land transfer - the process of changing ownership of land
retrieve - get something back that was your's in hte past (you lent something or someone took something without you knowing)
villa - a house usually in the countryside or near the sea บ้านพักตากอากาศ, บ้านพักของเศรษฐีในชนบท
investigation - the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something การสอบสวน การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
reveals - shows
operators - businesses doing this business
resort operators - people or businesses that run resorts
residents - people who live in a particular place or area ชาวบ้านในบริเวณ ผู้อาศัยในบริเวณ
protest - a strong complaint or disagreement ประท้วง
crackdown - strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
encroach (verb) - to gradually cover more and more of an area of land บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ
encroachment (noun) - gradually covering and using an area of land that you do not legally own การบุกรุก
forest encroachment - using forest land that you do not legally own (that the forestry department owns)
state - government รัฐ
state land encroachment - encroachment on state-owned forest land
directive - an official order คำสั่ง
defied a directive - refused to follow official order (did not do as they were told)
local - in or related to the small area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
local officials - high level people in local government
issues - subjects that need to be considered, discusses and debated ประเด็น
environment - the natural world of land, sea, plants, and animals
concerned - worried about something มีความกังวล
parties - people, companies and organisations involved in some affair (business deal, legal case, etc)
concerned parties - people, companies and organisations worried about or concerned about some issue (because outcome could affect them)
dispute - a serious disagreement, firht, conflict, argument over some problem ข้อโต้แย้ง การโต้เถียง, ความขัดแย้ง ข้อพิพาท
protests - meetings, sometimes forceful or violent, or public statements by people who strongly disagree with something ชุมนุมประท้วง
potential - possible ความเป็นไปได้
potential buyers - possible buyers
approach local leaders - meet local leaders (to talk about some problem or ask for a favour from them)
influence - the power to have an effect on people or things อิทธิพล to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves or thinks มีอิทธิพลต่อ, ชักจูง อำนาจบังคับ
ensure - to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน
purchase - buy
national politicians - politicians who are elected MPs to parliament
allegedly - claimed to be true, but not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
distribute - provide something to a large group of people
certify - officially state that something it true ออกใบรับรอง
plots - pieces of land
document - a piece of paper or a set of papers containing official information เอกสาร
proof - some fact or argument that shows the truth of something
claim on the land - legal claim to a plot of land,
issued - made available ออกใหม่
notice - information or warning หมายเตือ
issued a notice - make information or a warning available to people
nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
transferred - moved
source - someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
clear - easy to understand
clear order - an order that is easy to understand (asked to do something in an easy to understand way)
identified - named ระบุชื่อ
occupants - people who are in a particular place, vehicle, building, etc. at a particular time ผู้ครอบครอง
supervise - to be in charge of an activity or project and to check that everything is being done correctly ดูแล ควบคุม
property - land
officer - a high level person in an organisation with special responsibilities (a government officer, a police officer, an army officer)
expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
About the author
- Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Assistent Manager Educational services